Prosecutor says witnesses saw rap star shoot gun in club
Combs: faces up to 15 years
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A prosecutor in the trial of Sean "Puffy" Combs told the jury Monday that witnesses will testify the rap star fired a gun inside a Times Square nightclub in December 1999, then pressured his driver to claim ownership of a gun found in Combs' car.
Opening the trial of Combs, his bodyguard and another rapper, all charged in connection with a nightclub shooting, Assistant District Attorney Matt Bogdanos said witnesses will testify that Combs had a gun with him before entering the club, fired the gun toward the ceiling inside, threw the 9 mm semiautomatic pistol into the street, then ordered his driver to take him from the scene to elude police.
Background on the trial and Combs' previous legal entanglements, from CNN's Michael Okwu
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Then Combs began "a relentless, unremitting barrage" of pressure on his driver, Wardell Fenderson, to claim possession of another gun found by police inside the Lincoln Navigator that Combs and his girlfriend, actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, used to flee the nightclub, Bogdanos said. That pressure allegedly included bribery offers.
The 9 mm pistol dropped in the street was later recovered by police.
Combs faces gun possession and bribery charges, but is not accused of the shooting that wounded three people at Club New York.
Combs' bodyguard, Anthony Jones, was charged with illegal gun possession and bribery. The third defendant, rapper Jamal Barrow, was charged with attempted murder.
On his way into court, Combs' attorney Johnny Cochran said he wanted his client to stand trial alone.
"We would have rather had a trial by ourselves. We think that would have been appropriate but the justice denied the motion and now we are just dealing with it," said Cochran. "So, we're ready to go."
Rapper 'Puffy' Combs faces firearm charges
December 27, 1999
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